British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has expressed “deep concerns” about digital Chinese giant Huawei’s involvement in updating the UK’s mobile network after Alex Younger, the head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence services, said the country had recently faxed decisions on constantly growing Chinese ownership of text.
The UK is one of the nations leading the charge to restrict the use of Huawei’s products in the new standard 5G networks due to concerns that the Chinese tech giant actively cooperates with Beijing’s secret police and intelligence services.
The intelligence services of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, and Germany have all rejected 5G equipment from Huawei after voicing similar concerns about its links to the MSS – the Chinese Communist Party’s powerful intelligence and security agency.
According to British intelligence, China should be considered one of the world’s main culprits when it comes to assigning government-funded hackers with targets that include the commercial secrets and assets of a rival nation. Huawei, as a commercial entity, is however shielded from responsibility as it can claim that it has no official links to Chinese intelligence as it is a privately-owned firm.
“We have to recognise the fact … that the Chinese government sometimes acts maliciously,” said Williamson, a charge that both the company and official Beijing deny, saying they do not co-operate on matters connected to espionage or counter-intelligence.
The 5G standard, as recently adopted in December by the European Council, is the next mobile phone standard by offering much higher throughput capacity. It is set to become the main driver for the digital transition of economies from autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence.
The Chinese government has been pushing Huawei to become a world leader in its deployment, but the adoption of the technology is expected to go through a large-scale test phase before it becomes the standard in both the UK and EU markets.